German Companies Boost Their American Presence

Jun 30, 2017

BMW Enlarge image (© picture alliance / dpa) This Monday, German automobile and motorcycle manufacturer BMW announced that it would expand its U.S. operations by investing an additional $600 million into its Spartanburg, South Carolina plant. Employing an additional 1,000 workers, the company is a staple of the community so much so that celebrations of the expansion and their 25 year anniversary were joined by both Congressman Joe Wilson and Governor Henry McMaster.

BMW, however, is only one many German companies deepening their roots in the U.S. market.

Rival Grocery Stores Compete To Be Household Names

Lidl, a discount grocery store established in Germany in the 1930’s, as of June 15 is the newest German grocery chain to make a move into the American market. The company, which currently has 600 stores and presence in 20 countries throughout Europe, opened its first ten U.S. locations with plans to open another 100 along the east coast by next summer.  

Lidl is the second German discount grocer to create a presence in the United States. The success of the German low-price grocer Aldi since its arrival in the United States has been unprecedented.  The grocery store, named after the creator Anna Albrecht and “Discount”, currently has over 4,000 stores nationwide. The grocer opened its first location in the United States in 1976 in southeastern Iowa and has been expanding ever since. It now has over 1,500 locations in 34 states, serving 32 million customers each month. Aldi revealed plans to open nearly 600 additional stores in the U.S. over the next three years, bringing its total number of stores to 2,000.

Logo - Aldi und Lidl Enlarge image (© picture alliance / Roland Weihra)

Both Aldi and Lidl offer a more limited selection than traditional U.S. supermarkets and stocks primarily off-brand items. Most of the store’s products are displayed in their original shipping cartons to make restocking more efficient and to require fewer personnel on the sales floor. Lidl also saves money by requiring customers to bring their own shopping bags and to bag their own groceries.

Smaller Retailers Forge Their Space

Household names are not the only German companies who find the United States a welcoming market for their products. Motivated by lower interest rates and a vast market, German companies are energized to make the leap. One such example is Kneipp, a family owned bath and skin product company, who announced that they will open 5 stores in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.

According to the Wall Street Journal, German companies last year announced 64 U.S. acquisitions, valued at $88.5 billion. Based on the recently announced expansion of many German companies and affiliates, that momentum has no sign of stopping in 2017.

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